Town­ship de­fends ware­houses, truck­ing or­di­nance

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michelle Mer­lin

It’s pos­si­ble for some­one to put 1 mil­lion square feet of ware­houses or truck ter­mi­nals on a 119-acre prop­erty in Up­per Sau­con Town­ship, the town­ship’s en­gi­neer told a de­vel­oper, town­ship su­per­vi­sors and an au­di­ence of about 100 peo­ple Mon­day night.

Charles Unangst, the pres­i­dent of Hanover En­gi­neer­ing, tes­ti­fied on be­half of the town­ship dur­ing a public hear­ing over a chal­lenge filed by a de­vel­oper who claims the town­ship’s zon­ing code won’t al­low for ware­house or truck ter­mi­nal use.

The meet­ing was the sec­ond af­ter Kay Le­high LLC filed a chal­lenge to the town­ship’s zon­ing or­di­nance. Kay, which hopes to use a 119-acre prop­erty off Route 309 near East Val­ley Road for ware­hous­ing, al­leges that a ban on truck­ing ter­mi­nals within 500 feet of res­i­den­tial­zoned districts or build­ings like schools, day cares, play­grounds and hos­pi­tals acts to keep truck­ing ter­mi­nals from the town­ship.

Kay is hop­ing for a cu­ra­tive amend­ment that would al­low it to put a three-build­ing truck­ing ter­mi­nal on the prop­erty. Kay Builders had pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment there.

On Mon­day, Unangst tes­ti­fied that Kay Le­high could sub­di­vide the prop­erty to cre­ate three parcels for truck ter­mi­nals that add up to 1 mil­lion to 1.1 mil­lion square feet of space. Un­der his plan, there’d be three parcels left on the prop­erty that could be com­mer­cially de­vel­oped.

“The or­di­nance is valid,” said Rob Gund­lach, the spe­cial coun­sel to the town­ship. “The ap­pli­cant can rea­son­ably de­velop this prop­erty and com­ply with the 500 foot sep­a­ra­tion re­quire­ment.”

Ja­son En­gel­hardt, an en­gi­neer from Beth­le­hem-based Lan­gan En­gi­neer­ing, tes­ti­fied Aug. 12 for Kay that a three­build­ing truck ter­mi­nal would have 413 load­ing docks and if it worked at full ca­pac­ity, it would bring 817 trucks per day.

At that meet­ing, En­gel­hardt tes­ti­fied that the 500 feet is not a set­back or a buf­fer but ac­tu­ally a way to ex­clude truck­ing ter­mi­nals.

“No ware­house could ex­ist un­der this zon­ing law,” En­gel­hardt said. “The 500 feet is ex­clu­sion­ary from one prop­erty to an­other.”

Unangst on Mon­day night said that there were some ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties that did not com­ply with the 500 foot rule. Jim Pre­ston, the at­tor­ney for Kay, noted through ques­tion­ing Unangst that ware­hous­ing or truck ter­mi­nals couldn’t be put on the prop­erty as it cur­rently ex­ists with­out changing things like lot lines and road ac­cess.

Town­ship su­per­vi­sors will have to hear public com­ment be­fore they de­cide how to han­dle the chal­lenge from Kay. The next cu­ra­tive amend­ment hear­ing is sched­uled for Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Morn­ing Call re­porter Michelle Mer­lin can be reached at 610-820-6533 or at mmer­[email protected]

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